The first Covid vaccinations
Throughout the morning, patients and health workers at some 50 hospitals around the country have had the jab.
‘It hasn’t sunk in yet’
Grandmother Margaret Keenan initially thought it was a joke when hospital staff told her she would be the first person to get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said. “At the moment I don’t know how I feel, just so strange and so wonderful really.”
Ms Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was “the best early birthday present I could wish for”.
“It means I can finally look forward to spending time with my family and friends in the new year after being on my own for most of the year,” she added.
She said she did not mind the media attention and was not nervous about being vaccinated.
“Hopefully it’ll help other people come along and do what I did, and try and do the best to get rid of this terrible thing.”
‘This feels like the last hurdle’
Sister Joanna Sloan, a 28-year-old nurse from Dundrum in County Down, said she felt “privileged” to be the first person to receive the vaccine in Northern Ireland.
“This feels like the last hurdle towards keeping people safe, myself and everyone around me,” she told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme.
Ms Sloan, who will head up the vaccine roll-out in Belfast, had to put her wedding on hold due to the pandemic.
She’s now looking forward to telling her five-year-old daughter about having the vaccine.
“I want her to be proud, I want all my family and friends to be proud,” she said.
‘I don’t take this for granted’
Dr Hari Shukla was the first of around 100 people to be vaccinated in Newcastle, along with his wife Ranjan.
“I feel proud that I have had this privilege of participating in this very important activity,” he said.
“I don’t take this for granted because hundreds of people have worked for this vaccine day and night to make sure we got the vaccines in good time, so the lives of people can be saved.”
Dr Shukla was born in Uganda and came to the UK in 1974. He was director of the Tyne and Wear Racial Equality Council, and has been honoured with a CBE and named a Hero of the City of Newcastle for his work in race relations.
He said he wanted to use his position in the community to tell others the vaccine was safe.
“I’m saying go for it. It’s very important you have it, it’s wonderful and the way it has been produced, all the work they have done, it’s the best vaccine you could ever have.”
‘Hopefully next year we’ll be living a normal life’
Jack Vokes, 98, has cancer and has been in hospital for five weeks – but will soon be fit to go home.
He described being the first person to be vaccinated in Bristol as “a bit of excitement”.
Mr Vokes lives alone and hopes the vaccine will mean he is able to see more of his family, including his six granddaughters.
“I worry about my family more than me,” he said.
“I live in hope that by the middle of next year we’ll hopefully be living a normal life.”
‘A leap into the unknown’
Care home worker Craig Atkins was a little apprehensive before getting the vaccination in Cwmbran, south Wales.
The 48-year-old has diabetes and said he had not been one to have things like the flu jab in the past, but felt he could now smile.
“It was scary. I was the first to have this here today and it’s a bit of a leap into the unknown,” he told BBC Wales.
He said the pandemic had been difficult for staff at the care home, adding: “We’ve had to put everything on hold.
“I’ve kept my kids off school longer than anybody else. We didn’t want to be in quarantine and we didn’t want to take it into the nursing home.”
‘We finally have something to celebrate’
One of the first Scottish healthcare workers to be immunised was Dr Katie Stewart, a consultant anaesthetist at NHS Borders.
“After a very long, hard year looking after patients with Covid and staying apart to protect each other, we finally have something to celebrate,” she said.
“The new vaccination has been tested on more than 43,000 people around the world so I am truly delighted to be one of the first people in the Scottish Borders to receive one,” she said.